Mother’s Day


One summer our house burned down.
I stood on the curb crying and watching it burn,
and my mom put her arm around me and said,
At least we didn’t lose anything important.


I’m impressed by your creativity, I said.
What’s your secret?
She took a long drag on her cigarette and said,
Being a mom, you learn how to improvise.

Banana Bred

I will never understand
how you managed to deal with us
and not lose your bananas,
but I guess some people
are just meant to be moms.

Mom Strong

If only we could bottle
some of what you’ve got,
we could fix the world,
because there’s nothing else
like being
mom strong.


Most people she never tells about the tightrope because she doesn’t want to listen to their helpful comments from the ground.

The World Itself

When she held out her arms, the world itself wrapped around me & held me tight.

Ten Commandments

I asked her why she never told us about the Ten Commandments & she said she wasn’t ever that good with numbers so she loved everything as best she could & I remember thinking who needs all those rules anyway with a mother like her around.

Silver Needle

Each night, all the years we were growing up, she sat in the big yellow rocking chair & pieced together our lives with countless stitches of her silver needle.

Real Reason

There are things you do because they feel right & they may make no sense & they may make no money & it may be the real reason we are here: to love each other & to eat each other’s cooking & say it was good.

Hot Dish

It’s not so bad if you don’t think of it as pizza, she said.
Just think of it as another one of Mom’s scary hot dishes.

Hindsight (mother)

I didn’t listen to her because she was my mother
& wouldn’t know anything until I was much older.

Her Laughter

The first time her laughter unfurled its wings in the wind, we knew that the world would never be the same.

Hard to Impress

hard to impress because she’s already seen the sun rise today & it doesn’t get much better than that

Forgotten Promises

she sang like snowflakes on my tongue, bright & sharp with the forgotten promises of spring

Flying Woman

for a long time, she flew only when she thought no one else was watching

Clean Underwear

Make sure you got clean underwear, she always said, in case you get in an accident & I always figured that’d be the least of my worries, but now I’m older & I see there’s a lot you can’t control & some you can control & clean underwear is one of those you can. For the most part.

Bits of the World (feminine)

gathering up bits of the world & setting them out in an order that her children can understand


She said she usually cried at least once each day not because she was sad, but because the world was so beautiful & life was so short.


If you had to balance as much stuff as I do, she said, you’d take an hour in the bathroom every morning too.